Coronavirus India Updates: New Cases Fall To Lowest In Nearly Six Months
A protective face mask and glass of Pastis on a restaurant table in France. (Photographer: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg)

Coronavirus India Updates: New Cases Fall To Lowest In Nearly Six Months

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India added the fewest coronavirus cases in nearly six months, defying concerns about an influx during the festivities and a new mutant strain in the U.K.

India added 18,732 fresh cases in the last 24 hours—the lowest since July 1—taking the total tally to 1,01,87,850 in the world’s second-worst infected country, according to the Health Ministry’s update as of 8 a.m. on Dec. 27. This includes 147622 deaths and 97,61,538 patients who have recovered.

Key figures:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,01,87,850

  • Total number of active cases: 2,78,690

  • Total patients cured/discharged/migrated: 97,61,538

  • Total deaths: 1,47,622

  • Number of fresh cases in last 24 hours: 18,732

  • One-day recoveries: 21,430

  • One-day deaths: 279

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, a total of 16,81,02,657 samples have been tested as of Dec. 26, 2020. Of these, 9,43,368 were screened on Dec. 26 alone.

The nation with 1.3 billion people is only behind the U.S. in the number of confirmed infections. New cases remained below 25,000 for the seventh straight day. Daily recoveries have stayed ahead of fresh additions since Nov. 28. India also reported one-day fatalities of less than 300 for the second consecutive day.

The slower pace of daily infections and an improved recovery rate have kept active cases in India below the 3-lakh-mark for the sixth day in a row. That’s just 2.7% of the total caseload. India’s active cases had crossed 10 lakh in mid-September.

That comes as several states and cities have re-imposed some lockdown restrictions amid year-end festivities to ensure that infections remain in check. Besides, a new, more infectious mutant of coronavirus, detected in the U.K., has renewed fears about another wave in India. The nation has already cancelled all flights to and from the U.K. till at least Dec. 31.

Maharashtra has imposed a night curfew across all civic corporations from restricting movement between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Karnataka imposed a night curfew but has now withdrawn that order. Punjab, too, lifted its night curfew on Thursday night for Christmas eve. States have also started putting in institutional quarantine for travellers who may have returned from the U.K.

Global Update

Globally, confirmed coronavirus cases passed 80.3 million, including 1.76 million deaths.

The U.S. recorded 106,188 new Covid-19 cases on Dec. 25, an increase of just 0.6% from the day before and the smallest daily gain since Nov. 4, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Johns Hopkins University.

Sweden has identified its first case of the new coronavirus mutation after a person from the U.K. visited the Nordic nation to celebrate Christmas in the Sormland region.

The U.K. reported more than 30,000 cases for the seventh consecutive day. Saturday’s tally of 34,693 cases is in line with the average over the previous seven days. Deaths were significantly lower at 210, compared to a daily average of 522 for the past week. Oxford and Astrazeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine will be rolled out across the U.K. starting Jan. 4, the Telegraph reports, citing plans that ministers are drawing up.

Beijing government is calling for stricter Covid-19 control and prevention during the holidays as the Chinese capital city reported five local cases on Saturday.

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Track all news and developments around the outbreak in India here.

39 New Covid-19 Cases In Ladakh

Thirty-nine more people tested positive for the coronavirus in Ladakh, taking the infection count in the Union Territory to 9,394, officials said on Sunday.

Ladakh has so far recorded 126 Covid-19-related deaths — 83 in Leh and 43 in Kargil — while 9,050 patients or 96% of the total cases have recovered from the infection in the union territory.

The officials said 31 of the fresh cases were detected in Leh and eight others in Kargil during the past 24 hours.

Thirty-one patients were discharged after successful treatment in Leh during the same period, they said. According to the officials, the number of active Covid-19 cases in Ladakh stands at 218 — 192 in Leh and 26 in Kargil.

(Source: PTI)

More Than 750 Volunteers In Gujarat Get Covaxin First Dose In Phase-3 Trial

Over 750 volunteers have been administered the first dose of Bharat Biotech's Covid-19 vaccine 'Covaxin' as part of its phase-3 trials at a city hospital, and none of them have experienced any side effects so far, a senior doctor said on Sunday.

Bharat Biotech is developing Covaxin in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology. The phase-III trials of the vaccine are being conducted at Sola Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad.

"Over 750 volunteers, including around 50 health workers like doctors, nursing staff, para-medics, have been administered the first dose of Covaxinsince its phase-3 trial began on Nov. 25. None of the volunteers have experienced any kind of side effects so far," Dr. Kiran Rami, head of the hospital's TB and chest department, told PTI.

"A total 1,000 volunteers will be administered the vaccine by the end of this month. We have also begun giving the second booster dose to the volunteers who have completed 28 days of the first dose. We have covered 15 volunteers so far," he said.

For the second booster dose, those who completed 28 days, are being called by the hospital. The volunteers were also given a diary with the details of their schedule, Dr. Rami said.

The first dose of the vaccine is given after the mandatory RT-PCR test. However, for the second booster dose, no such test is required when the vaccine is administered. But the volunteers will have to undergo RT-PCR test every month for ten months, he said.

Sola civil hospital at Ahmedabad in Gujarat has been chosen for the phase-3 human trials of Covaxin on 1,000 volunteers.

Bharat Biotech had earlier received approval for the phase-3 clinical trials on 26,000 participants in over 25 centres across India.

(Source: PTI)

Sikkim Suffers Rs 600-Crore Blow In 2020 As Pandemic Cripples Tourism Industry

The picturesque Himalayan state of Sikkim, with a population of under seven lakh, reeled under a serious crisis in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic crippled its tourism industry, the mainstay of its economy.

The tourism sector suffered losses worth Rs 600 crore this year due to the pandemic, Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation Chairman Lukendra Rasaily said.

Sikkim has registered over 5,600 Covid-19 cases so far and more than 120 fatalities. The state is reporting up to 200 cases on a weekly basis at present.

The surge in the outbreak could not be tamed despite the state government sealing the borders, banning tourists and suspending educational activities as early as the first week of March. India-China trade at the Nathula border pass was also suspended in the wake of the pandemic.

For the first time since the 1800s, Buddhist monasteries of Nynmapa and Khagyu sects in Sikkim will not organise the famed Khagyad Chaam, a traditional mask dance, this year due to the pandemic. The mask dances, performed by monks, are held every year in various monasteries in the state during the Bhutia festival of Losoong (New Year), and are attended by thousands of devotees as well as tourists from all over the world.

(Source: PTI)

European Union Nations Kick Off Mass Covid-19 Vaccinations

European Union nations on Sunday officially kicked off a coordinated effort to give Covid-19 vaccinations to adults among their 450 million citizens, marking a moment of hope in the continent's battle against the worst public health crisis in a century.

Shots were administered Sunday morning to the most vulnerable people. Health care workers who take care of them, and some politicians to reassure the public that the vaccinations are safe.

The vaccines, developed by Germany's BioNTech and American drugmaker Pfizer, started arriving in EU countries on Friday. The EU has seen some of the world's earliest and hardest-hit virus hot spots, including Italy and Spain.

Altogether, the EU's 27 nations have recorded at least 16 million coronavirus infections and more than 336,000 deaths.

(Source: PTI)

Andamans Reports No Fresh Covid-19 Case, Tally At 4,912

Andaman and Nicobar Islands did not report a single case of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, a health department official said on Sunday.

The union territory’s Covid-19 tally remained at 4,912, the official said.

Eight more people were cured of the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of recoveries in the archipelago to 4,789, he said.

The union territory now has 61 active Covid-19 cases, while 62 people have died so far due to the disease, the official said.

(Source: PTI)

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